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The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53689
11/14/02 08:47 PM
11/14/02 08:47 PM
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Vesty Offline OP
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Do Byzantine Catholics believe as the Orthodox do about the soul of the deceased being present on earth for 2 days after death(at the funeral), followed by the toll houses, and then on the 3rd through the 8th day being shown Paradise, and then on the 9th through the 39th day shown Hell, and then on the 40th day being brought before the throne of God for its designated place until the Last Judgment?

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53690
11/14/02 10:02 PM
11/14/02 10:02 PM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,363
Virginia!
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John
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Virginia!
Welcome, MM, to The Byzantine Forum!

The tradition of the toll houses has always been the commonly held understanding of the journey of the soul after death by Byzantine Christians (both Orthodox and Catholic). It has never been an official teaching by any Church. Most Byzantine Catholic parishes I am familiar with still celebrate a panachida or other service (Divine Liturgy with the panachida prayers) on the ninth and fortieth days after death (although in many places they are moved to the nearest Sunday for convenience). In some places this custom has fallen away.

On the third, ninth and fortieth days there was also a mercy meal celebrated and the custom was for a space to be kept reserved in honor of the one who passed. This tradition is much less preserved in our Churches.

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53691
11/14/02 10:34 PM
11/14/02 10:34 PM
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Kansas/UGCC
Diak Offline
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Dear MM - what you are describing is only the theological opinion of some Orthodox and Eastern Catholics and is not a dogma as defined in any of the Ecumenical Councils.

The way I was taught about the significance of these days is that on the third day we pray that Christ who rose from the dead may resurrect our brother/sister into a life of eternal blessedness; on the ninth we pray that the Lord may number our brother/sister with the nine ranks of angels in praising God in His throne on high; and on the 40th that as Christ endured temptation in the desert after 40 days may save our brother/sister at the just judgement, and as Christ ascended into heaven 40 days after His resurrection He may receive our brother/sister up to the "highest heaven".

There is also the tradition of having kolyvo (kutia, sweet boiled wheat) or a special loaf of bread at each of these memorial services for the deceased.

Also in the Ukrainian tradition there was sometimes a service every day of the 40 days for the repose of the soul of the departed, although that is not often practiced currently.

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53692
11/15/02 05:00 PM
11/15/02 05:00 PM
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Posts: 1,196
Columbus, Ohio
Sharon Mech Offline
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At least at our (nominally Ruthenian) parish, I've seen this custom largely amongst the Ukrainians.

ISTM that the Orthodox "toll house" theory is as much a matter of speculation as the Roman Catholic "Purgatory" view.

What we all agree on is that prayer for the dead is not wasted. I tend to figure that the rest is up to God.

Saron

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53693
11/16/02 11:19 AM
11/16/02 11:19 AM
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West
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Vesty Offline OP
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Thank you for answering my question!
May God bless you!!!

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53694
11/18/02 01:09 AM
11/18/02 01:09 AM
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Falls Church, Virginia
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Among the Greeks, the tradition is to fast and pray from the time of departure until the time of the funeral. On that day, there is a mnemosion ('remembrance') accompanied by a mercy-meal of fish and fasting foods. One wears dark or black clothing for the full 40 days. One normally believes that the soul of the departed hovers around his/her residence for these 40 days.

On the 40th day, there is a mnemosion at the Church, again with kolyva, and as the Greeks understand it, the soul of the departed then leaves for his/her pre-Last Judgement station. We continue to pray for the soul of the departed up until the very last day of Creation regardless of where he/she is. At the Last Judgement, not only the events of the departed's life, but also the prayers of the faithful will all come together to bring the soul of the departed to his/her final reward. (Thus, we are ALWAYS remembering the souls of the departed. And whatever we do, we are also helping them forward in the pilgrimage towards salvation. And we also gain merit in praying for them since Christ told us to always serve the needs of our brethren - including those who have gone before us in the sign of faith.)

It is such a comfort to realize that God lumps us all together so that we can work for the salvation of not only ourselves, but also for those for whom we pray.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!!

Blessings to all!

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53695
11/18/02 10:19 AM
11/18/02 10:19 AM
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Canada
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Dear Friends,

Toll-houses aside, the practices of the 40 days following a Christian's repose are based on the visions of St Macarius of Alexandria and form a solid part of the liturgical tradition of the Eastern Churches.

Purgatory is definitely a doctrine in the Roman Church.

At the council of Florence, the Greeks accepted Purgatory, although didn't define it in terms of "purgatorial fire."

The Kyivan Metropolitan St Peter Mohyla did accept purgatory in his earlier Catechism, although this was expunged by other Orthodox Patriarchs.

As Meyendorff said, we know that our prayer can help bring a soul closer to God.

Beyond that, what can we really know?

Alex

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53696
11/18/02 10:25 AM
11/18/02 10:25 AM
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KY
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I found the prayer for the deceased to be raised to the "highest heaven" interesting. Does the Eastern tradition believe in 7 heavens like the Jewish people?

Adam


Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory Forever!
Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53697
11/18/02 10:53 AM
11/18/02 10:53 AM
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Canada
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Dear Adam,

Again, one can find Fathers and liturgical references to this effect, including references in Revelation.

The issue has never been the subject of a "doctrinal statement" as one would find in the West.

(One of our Ethiopian Orthodox Churches here in Toronto is named in honour of the "Seventh Heaven.")

St Nicholas, in his Akafist, is described as being sanctified in the womb of his mother, but that is a pious belief and never an object of faith for all Christians.

Alex

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53698
11/19/02 02:50 PM
11/19/02 02:50 PM
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Ft Worth, TX
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As the Christian custom is to mourn for 40 days after death, the Jewish custom is to mourn for 30 days after death:

Numbers 20:29 and when the whole community learned that Aaron had died, the entire house of Israel mourned for him thirty days.

Deuteronomy 34:8 The Israelites grieved for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days, until the time of weeping and mourning was over.

yours in Christ,
Taylor

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53699
11/19/02 03:01 PM
11/19/02 03:01 PM
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Canada
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Dear Taylor,

Yes, I think that the tradition of having Requiem Masses celebrated for the reposed for thirty days, what is sometimes called the "Gregorian Masses" or "Grygorianka" in our Church where our Basilian Fathers still follow this tradition, was inspired by that.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church also follows this tradition and also celebrates a requiem liturgy for the reposed on the third and SEVENTH days after death.

I was pleased to organize and participate in a 40th day requiem Divine Liturgy for my Godfather, Sylvester, last Saturday, as an aside.

Just as he held me during my Baptism when he promised, on my behalf, that I would obey the Will of Christ and follow Him all the days of my life, I could return the favour and pray that God would reward him for a holy life with His heavenly blessings.

The Byzantine Church also recommends prayer for 40 days for any private intention we may have.

Alex

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53700
11/19/02 03:09 PM
11/19/02 03:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 237
Springfield, MA
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Alex, you stated that at the Council of Ferrara-Florence that the Greeks accepted at least the idea of Purgatory. St. Mark of Ephesus, Pillar of Orthodoxy, expounded on this in depth at this council, and from the point of view of the Orthodox, pretty much refuted any acceptance of the idea of purgatorial fire from the view of the Orthodox.

God bless.

OrthodoxEast

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53701
11/19/02 03:32 PM
11/19/02 03:32 PM
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Canada
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Dear OrthodoxEast,

Yes, St. Mark of Ephesus most certainly did!

He was more concerned with the removal of the Filioque as the minimum condition for reunion, that was being urged by the Byzantine Emperor and the Patriarch for political purposes i.e. the defence of Constantinople.

But he, and the Greek theologians, were surprised that the Latins had, by then, categorized the afterlife into four "places" including heaven, hell, purgatory and limbo.

The Latins wouldn't agree to union with the Greeks unless they accepted purgatory, and then capitulated on the point of "purgatorial fire" which the Greeks agreed to - but not St Mark Eugenikos.

Purgatory has been believed in by other Orthodox theologians as an opinion. St Peter Mohyla of Kyiv certainly accepted it, even though his earlier mention of it in his Catechism was expunged by Orthodox Patriarchs.

Peter still insisted on teaching about purgatory within his local Kyivan Metropolia . . .

The "attraction" of purgatory, if one may say it that way, is that it is a 'neat' formulation that is both definite and easier to grasp. The Eastern mystical tradition in this respect is less so and rightly so.

If a soul is not "sinful enough" to be condemned to hell, but is not "holy enough" to be admitted to heaven, then where is it?

The answer to that question, as to the question "where are the souls of those we pray for so that their sins may be loosed?" is where we get into purgatory in the West - and a less affirmative and rational response in the East.

Alex

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53702
11/20/02 01:25 AM
11/20/02 01:25 AM
Joined: Mar 2002
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Kansas/UGCC
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That's pretty interesting because even the old Roman Baltimore Catechism states that the last things are 'death, judgement, heaven, hell'. The "p" word (purgatory) doesn't even find a place there.

Re: The 3rd, 9th, and 40th day memorials after death #53703
11/20/02 06:35 AM
11/20/02 06:35 AM
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Southbridge, Massachusetts
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In the Romanian church we celebrate the Parastas service. The Parastas is sung over bread in our tradition with a candle in the center of the bread. The candle is a representation of the light of Christ's teachings. Red wine is poured over the bread to remind us that we are purified, cleansed, and made holy by the blodd of Christ. We pray for the newly-departed on the third, ninth, and fortieth day after death. In addition, we remember the dead six months after and again on the first year anniversary of their death.

And then we go down stairs and have a feast!!!

Peter

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